EPIC Seeks Intelligence Agencies’ Responses to Congressional Oversight of FISA Section 702

April 4, 2024

Last week, EPIC submitted Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), Department of Justice (DOJ), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and National Security Agency (NSA) concerning their responses to congressional oversight of FISA Section 702 and other warrantless surveillance practices, including the government’s purchase of information, including Americans’ sensitive data.

Last summer, as Congress and the American public debated how and whether to reauthorize Section 702, both the Senate and House Judiciary Committees held oversight hearings of intelligence agencies and their warrantless surveillance activities. In both hearings, members asked intelligence officials difficult questions about violations of Section 702 and other warrantless surveillance practices. At a House Judiciary Committee hearing in July, FBI Director Christopher Wray deflected several members’ questions concerning the FBI’s warrantless purchase of Americans’ data, instead promising to have staff follow up and brief members on the FBI’s data purchases.

However, despite the ongoing debate over reauthorizing this authority, the responses to the Committees’ questions for the record (QFRs) have not been made public, nor is there any public indication that agencies have even responded to those QFRs. And according to a recent report, the FBI has still not followed up with members of the House Judiciary Committee on Director Wray’s promise to brief them on the FBI’s purchase of Americans’ data. As we write in one of our FOIA requests, “[t]his apparent lack of responsiveness to overseers in Congress—at a time where [agencies] advocating for a clean reauthorization of the very surveillance activities at issue—is deeply troubling.”

EPIC has published a blog series focused on explaining Section 702 and the need to reform it. EPIC and a bipartisan coalition of civil society groups have called for broad reform to Section 702 and related surveillance authorities.

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